Open letter from the workers of the Zastava car factory

As we have already informed you in our yesterday's address, in keeping with our decision, we, the employees of ZASTAVA and citizens of freedom-loving Kragujevac, made a live shield of 8,240 men in the ZASTAVA factory area at 2 p.m. local time yesterday. And even at the shift end, even at the alarm sound, the ZASTAVA workers did not leave their workshops, but remained to protect with their bodies what provides for their and their families' living, that in which they have built in years-long honest work in order to provide for their better future.

Herewith we advise you that also henceforth, as long as the war operations go on, we shall remain within the factory area of 305 hectares, at 44º N and 20º E. We took the decision to occasionally go out of the workshops and hold rallies and protest walks in the factory yard. Workers, citizens of Kragujevac, and members of their families are availing themselves of this opportunity to publicly announce on behalf of their collegues and co-citizens of Kragujevac what they think about this insane act and what they believe in. Therefore we want you to know that the attack on our factory shall mean a direct death to thousands of men and an enormous spiritual and material loss to their families.

We, the citizens and workers of Kragujevac, cannot understand how governments of your countries think that the air raids, wildly conducted upon our country, destroying not only military premises but also important economic and civil premises, including even schools and hospitals, would contribute to the humanitarian goals that they verbally advocate. We cannot indeed understand how the pulled down schools and hospitals, destroyed factories and gross civilian victims would contribute to a general idea of humanness.

We do not know how to explain to our children, already years-long famished by sanctions, whose schools are being pulled down now, and their lives brought into the question - what do the ideas of humanity, freedom, and equality mean, the ideas that the great minds, precisely from your cultures, were so nicely explaining in their works and supporting also by their deeds, often at the price of own lives.

Have this great freedom-loving and philosophical ideas dispersed with the NATO strategy prepared for the end of this millennium? We do not want to believe that this had happened because we wish that all which has been great in human civilization since its nascent to this date be conveyed into the new era in which we should all live better in the now already quite a global world.

We feel encouraged because the public we are addressing has consciousness and expresses indignation at this trifling with the fate of the entire humanity, considering the destructive power of the threatening weapons.

We are appealing to this already awaken public, wishing them to still more loudly raise their voice against the destruction of the human quality in men, of the achievements that all the generations since Egyptians, Assyrians, peoples of ancient China and India, over all European and non-European peoples, have been creating to these days.


Kragujevac, March 27, 1999